MEMPHIS, Tenn., Nov. 2, 2006 – Ducks Unlimited will use a matching grant to eliminate invasive salt cedar as part of its wetlands restoration on Cibola National Wildlife Refuge (NWR). DU received $12,500 from BASF for herbicide application to fight the spread of terrestrial and aquatic invasive plants.
Cibola NWR is located in the lower Colorado River floodplain and is surrounded by a fringe of desert ridges and washes. Wetlands management there provides habitat for thousands of ducks, Canada geese, snow greese and other waterfowl that migrate to Cibola NWR during winter. About 85 percent of Arizona’s wintering goose population resides on the refuge.
The grant will focus on removing unwanted plants and rehabilitation of wetlands on Unit 3 of the refuge, which is in the open hunting zone.
“Invasive plant species, particularly saltcedar, has taken over most of the refuge because of altering the flow of ther Colorado River,“ said Jeff McCreary, regional biologist for Ducks Unlimited. “This grant targets killing salt cedar. Its removal is the first step in restoring these wetlands.”
Saltcedar is is the common name for three introduced species of small trees or large shrubs introduced in the 1800s. They are considered noxious weeds. Saltcedar sucks up huge amounts of water and threatens native plant communities that are beneficial to waterfowl and other animals.
Ducks Unlimited partnered with the refuge to restore the wetlands to help recover several species of waterfowl and other wetland-dependent wildlife. Future DU projects at Cibola NWR include rehabilitation of the Unit 1 main water supply ditch, installation of water control structures in the Hippie Burn area of the Farm Unit, completion of the Long Pond unit, and restoration in Unit 3.
The goal of the Invasive Vegetation Management Matching Grant Program is to aid organizations in meeting matching funding requirements for federal or foundation grants, specifically to support the use of herbicides for vegetation management. BASF funding is used as part of the non-federal matching money for federal or foundation grants such as the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s Pulling Together Initiative (PTI) program. BASF Professional Vegetation Management awarded grants totaling $200,000 to 20 organizations.
“Funding from BASF was critical for jump starting DU’s long-term effort to improve waterfowl habitat as Cibola,” said McCreary. “During the next several years, DU will undertake a major program to transform Cibola NWR into a premier waterfowl refuge, making it the flagship refuge of the Sonora Desert.
Contact: Mike Checkett
With more than a million supporters, Ducks Unlimited is the world’s largest and most effective wetland and waterfowl conservation organization. The United States alone has lost more than half of its original wetlands ¬- nature’s most productive ecosystem - and continues to lose more than 80,000 wetland acres each year.